Summary: A message of encouragement to small churches and their pastors.
While I was cleaning up the building Monday morning the Holy Spirit and I had a nice conversation. If you have never talked with the Holy Spirit I highly recommend it. Jesus sent him when He left to comfort us, to teach us, and to remind us of what we have been taught. We talk to God a lot. We talk to Jesus a lot. We need to talk to the Holy Spirit also. He abides within us.
It was during this time that He reminded me of my calling. So, I have a confession to make. Some of you might already know it. Some of you might not want to hear it. But it is the truth. I am a small church pastor. That is what I was called to be. As a great philosopher once said “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.”
He also reminded me that all of you come here by choice because you want a small church. Everyone one of you drove past bigger churches to come here. You did not select those churches that had more programs, better technology, and more dynamic speakers. Rather you choose to be here because of the friendship and family atmosphere.
I am a pastor, not a rancher. A pastor is a shepherd with a flock. A rancher is a shepherd with a flock so large that he must hire other shepherds to do the work while he manages. I could not do what the pastors at the bigger churches do. I do not have the organizational skills to accomplish handling thousands or even hundreds of people. But those pastors could not do what I do. They would not be comfortable with a small crowd where they would be expected to be the only pastor known to them. I feed off of that intimacy. There is nothing wrong with bigger churches. They meet the needs of thousands. And there is nothing wrong with smaller churches. They meet the needs of thousands.
Since I am a small church pastor I am not overly concerned about church growth. I see no reason to be motivated to invent methods to push our church for the single purpose of growth. In fact I would like us to stop desiring to do things because it would help us grow.
However, I am totally committed to serving our community. My desire is to seek ways to get out of these walls and into our community. And if the Holy Spirit leads people to come within our walls and we experience growth, it will be at his prompting. We are what we are and that’s all that we are. But we are what God has called us to be. My question to you is not “What can we do to grow?” but rather “What can we do to impact our community?”
It is true that we have some hindrances. We do not have a lot of funding like other churches. We do not have the available facilities like other churches. We do not even have a bus. But we have the mandate of Jesus to go into the entire world. And if He mandated He will make it possible.
In Deuteronomy 7:7 Moses told the nation of Israel, “The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations!” God did not set us in the heart of Denver, NC because we were great in numbers or destined to be the fastest growing church around. We have a mission.
In Job 8:7 we find this promise, “And though you started with little, you will end with much.” God is not making us a promise of butts in seats. Remember, we are not concentrating on growth but rather ministry to our community. He is saying to me, “A few may step up to assist but in the end the impact you will make will be much.” I desire for our growth to come from outreach and people like you looking for that intimacy of a small church.
It does not take huge numbers to make an impact, just willingness. Let me read to you the story of David’s mightiest warriors. 2 Samuel 23:8-13 “These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.
Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled.
He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!